Ace of Spades had a link to Why Working at Starbucks for Three Weeks Was the Toughest Job I’ve Ever Had. Now before I go off on a tear I’ve got to give the author her due. She starts with:
“I had recently moved to New York City, and I was freelancing at the time. But I had to get a part-time job in order to pay next month’s rent.”
Her solution was a short term stint at Starbucks. Now that’s just heartwarming. Working to make money to support yourself. Adaptive, noble, and practical. Well done!
Unfortunately it went downhill from there. Apparently this hothouse flower of an individual was shocked to find out that work is…work.
“…there simply wasn’t the space or environment to train properly. It was always chaotic, with several people on the floor, calling orders, shifting from station to station, and asking you to get out of the way. Not to mention 10 customers waiting at the end of the bar for their drinks.”
No. Shit. Sherlock.
Life is like that. Those of us who’ve lived in the real world don’t expect that a job slinging coffee will be taught by a zen master in a peaceful garden. Learn as you go and try not to get in the way of people who know what they’re doing. In all entry level jobs this is how it’s done. If it cannot be learned in this way it is (for example, you’re working with high voltage or something) then, by definition, it’s not entry level. Duh!
But hey, bitching about a job is as American as apple pie. I was willing to roll with it. Then came the part that stuck in my craw. Seems that the author was a bit of a novice in the coffee slinging technologies and wished for a little leeway…fine. But read how it was phrased:
“Just as I was tempted to remind my coworkers that they were new once, too, I wanted to tell customers that I was way over-qualified for this job, and hoped they’d see me on the street in normal clothes, not in khakis, a black T-shirt, bright-green apron and baseball cap.”
Let me zoom in on the important part.
“I was way over-qualified for this job”
Oh…no she didn’t! I call bullshit on that snippy little bit of prose!
Ahem…is this bullhorn on? Good. Yeah, set the volume at eleven. Here goes:I don’t care if you’re the goddamn genius wonderkind cancer curing God-king of all you survey. You are not “overqualified” at making coffee until you’re good… indeed excellent… at making coffee. The mistaken idea that you are is either hubris or just plain stupidity. Until you can snatch that pebble from the hand of the coffee slinging master…you are a novice. A student. A beginner. A work in progress. No human being is EVER rendered “overqualified” for a job which they can’t yet do well. An overpriced degree doesn’t make you overqualified to serve coffee unless you got a PhD in serving fucking coffee. Part of being a fully aware individual is understanding that. A child might think that all jobs are a ladder with each rung higher than the other but an adult knows that the world is a bigger place than that. Skills in one field (in this case writing for Business Insider) does not render a person “overqualified” in other fields (such as slinging coffee). The pope is not overqualified to be a surgeon. A surgeon is not overqualified to fix a transmission. A mechanic is not overqualified to fix the plumbing. And a writer who thinks they’re too good to learn the ropes slinging coffee is not overqualified…they are just snobbish and paternalistic. I’ve had enough of this shit. Just like the author I have a slew of credentials and specialized skills. I might endeavor to be too expensive to be a coffee slinger but I would never claim to be above it. And if the economy tanks sufficiently you’ll find me busting ass to be the best goddamn coffee slinger that there ever was. If I claim I’m overqualified to sling coffee it’s because I can goddamn well do it and do it very well. Right up to that magic moment of total mastery I’ll keep my mouth shut. That’s a partial root of humility and it’s the cure to creeping self-indulgent ego inflating delusion that seems all too common during this; the restless crest of a wave of unearned self esteem.